And you thought Christmas was stressful. New Year’s Eve can be one of the most taxing holidays to plan. You’re about to leave one year behind and enter a new one, so who can blame you for wanting it to be epic?
For me, every year was the same. Once Thanksgiving was over, I’d start strategizing for Christmas and New Year’s at the same time. After the Christmas holiday (literally 12:01 a.m.), my main focus would become New Year’s Eve. Where to go, what to do, what to wear, and how much I could afford to spend.
I’d get all worked up, stressing over every single detail. Then, I’d be so frustrated that I’d stay home. I’d be tucked in bed by nine o’clock, only to wake up to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve two minutes before the countdown. Ten minutes after that, I was asleep again. The following year would be a repeat. I would be in this cycle for several years.
There’s so much riding on the night being an epic way to ring in the New Year, but it doesn’t always happen because, as in previous years, everything falls apart at the last minute.
Even though I had a plan (or several of them), I never stuck to it. This year, however, could be different. Here are 18 New Year’s Eve date ideas that are guaranteed to kick off the new year in a fun and exciting way.
Note: These ideas are only for couples. If you have kids, send them to grandma’s house for the night.
1). Radio Silence
Turn everything off, including phones, televisions, and any other device you use regularly. Instead, spend the entire night enjoying each other’s company over a delicious meal or snuggling up by the fire.
Set the scene by dimming the lights and playing soft music in the background. You’ll ring in the New Year with no distractions.
2). A Mini Staycation
Whether heading downtown to a luxurious hotel or visiting another nearby city, taking time to get away is one of the best ways to spend the night quietly bringing in the New Year.
Or, if you prefer a crowd, many hotels offer a New Year’s celebration gathering in their restaurant or bar area. You can also invite one or two other couples. It keeps the celebration with friends cozy and intimate.
3). Prepare Dinner for Two Together
Create a special menu for two, then spend the day shopping for all the ingredients. Spend the evening preparing your favorite foods. No pressure. Open up a bottle of wine and enjoy your time together leading into the New Year.
Want to try eating someplace other than the kitchen table? Pack up your dinner and enjoy it on a blanket beside the fireplace. Or feed each other in bed. Once dinner is complete, you can go right to dessert.
4). Host an Intimate Potluck Dinner
Call a few other couples and invite them for a “Farewell to 2022” New Year’s Eve potluck dinner. Stock up on everyone’s favorite wine and cocktails and assign dishes to all invited.
If you want to seem less like a dictator, let your friends decide who brings what. Only assign if everyone wants to bring the ice and napkins. A festive evening of friends will bring everyone closer together.
6 Tips to Make Your Potluck Party a Success
Whether this is your first potluck party or your thirty-first, there’s always room for improvement. So next time you host a potluck, try these fail-proof ideas to make your dinner one that everyone will love and remember.
- Assign food categories to each guest: This idea is the most essential part of any potluck because, without the pot, you don’t have the luck. But, of course, that’s just a weird way of saying no dishes, no dinner. A potluck is fun because of its spontaneity. However, you’ll want to have a full meal when planning a party. You don’t want two macaroni dishes and no protein. When planning your next potluck, assign categories of food so you don’t end up with a dinner of cookies and cupcakes–which coincidentally doesn’t sound that bad to me, but you have other guests to consider. Also, email a simple sign-up sheet so everyone knows what food everyone else is bringing.
- Bring foods that travel easily: You do not want soup spilling in your car on the way to the potluck. Instead of sloppy platters, opt for foods that travel well, like slow cooker recipes or casseroles. Check online for recipes that are easily transportable and yummy.
- Be sure to have enough drinks to go around: Unfortunately, people get so caught up in what dish to bring they forget about the drinks. So, avoid getting caught slipping and running low on booze for your next potluck. Stock your shelves with enough wine and spirits for your guests. Also, consider the non-drinkers, so it will be good to have a few sodas and some bottled water.
- Prep with smaller portions in mind: Most times, the thinking is to bring more food than usual to feed everyone at the party. However, that’s not necessarily true. There may be plenty of people, but that also equals plenty of food options. The idea of a potluck is that people take smaller portions to sample a wider variety of foods. A standard single-portion entree typically feeds two or three people at a potluck dinner.
- Pack utensils: When it comes to bringing dishes, the key is preparation. Don’t rely on the host to supply serving utensils for everyone, especially if this is a large dinner. Even if they don’t need them, your host will appreciate your consideration of not having to search for an extra pair of tongs or a large serving spoon.
- Bring your dish ready-to-serve: Take a long food that’s ready to be served. Never assume the host has enough oven space to reheat several dishes that turned cold. If you’d prefer to play it safe, try bringing a dish that can be served cold, like a salad. (Remember the salad dressings.) If you need to bring a dish that needs some prep time (time in the fridge or oven), let your host know ahead of time so they can make the necessary space.
5). Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane
Bring in the New Year by recreating the evening with sentimental activities. For example, have dinner at the restaurant where you first met or hang out in the park where you first kissed.
If it’s too cold out, pull out the old photo albums and go through each one, remembering the great times. Then, play some old tunes from high school when you had your first date. New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to reminisce.
6). Spend the Evening Playing Games
Act like a kid and spend the night playing cards and board games. Go way back and pull out the Hungry, Hungry, Hippo game (Ask mom.)
Another idea is to write your New Year’s resolutions together, noting what you’re looking forward to doing as a couple in the New Year.
7). Create a New Year’s Eve Wine Tasting
Grab your wine-loving family and friends (or just the two of you) and host a wine tasting. Taste wines from 2022, and choose some of your favorites to try for the New Year.
You’ll want to host a wine tasting with food. You can opt for simple with a cheese plate and some light snacks, or ring in the New Year with a bang by providing a buffet-style meal. If you want your guests to participate, make it a potluck evening or allow them to bring their favorite wine for the tasting.
8). Go Ice-skating
Can you picture light snowfall on a backdrop of colorful lights? There’s nothing more romantic than outdoor skating in the city. Take a break from the festive activity and sip some spiked hot chocolate to keep you warm.
9). Make a Road Trip
If you can, take some time off work and lose yourselves in the country on a road trip. Search for a cozy, secluded Air BnB and spend a few days welcoming in the New Year.
10). Party! Party! Party!
This is more of a traditional idea. For people who enjoy crowds, dress in your finest duds and ring in the New Year with your partner at a club or a cocktail party. There are a ton of events, but some can be costly. So, consider a low-key party with friends if you’re on a budget.
If you prefer huge gatherings and like to be at the heart of the action, why not make plans for a fabulous Times Square New Year’s Eve event?
There’s nothing more classic than watching the glittery ball drop in NYC. This idea is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but be sure to line up hours before the ball drops, so plan on being there early.
Nope, I don’t mean in the bedroom. I mean literal fireworks that go BOOM! Many locations offer fireworks as a part of their NYE experience, especially in the bigger cities.
However, if you can’t find them in your area, consider making your own (legally, of course.) A couple of crackling sparklers work just as well to ring in the New Year. So grab a bottle of wine, sit outside nestled under a blanket, and enjoy bringing in the New Year with your love.
12). Watch a Movie
New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be all about partying. You can enjoy a quiet evening just as much as a Times Square party. Head to the cinema and watch a midnight movie.
You and your partner can splurge on soda, candy, and popcorn with all the fixins. You may even be lucky enough to be one of the few people not partying and enjoying a movie instead.
Unfortunately, you may miss out on the midnight countdown, but you’ll be happy just spending time with your partner doing something different and fun.
For some, NYE is more about helping people in need than drinking and partying. Volunteering with your significant other is always an ideal date. If you’re looking for places to volunteer, visit local churches or homeless shelters. If they don’t need volunteers, they typically know places that do.
If you think you have to book the year before for an NYE cruise, think again. Between early November and mid-December, cruise lines have multiple cancellations. So if the funds permit, consider booking a mini vacation to ring in the New Year. You can keep the vacation within the U.S. or take a Caribbean cruise to someplace warm if you’re feeling more adventurous.
15). Pajama Party
Sometimes all you want to do for New Year’s is to remain in the comforts of your warm and cozy home and avoid all the crowds and the traffic.
If that sounds like you, why not host a private pajama party? Slip into something more comfortable, like your flannel P.J.s, and prepare for an evening of fun.
Have a movie marathon or play board games. Make delicious desserts together like a chocolate fondue or bake some cookies. Then, if you’re feeling naughty, take the melted chocolate to the bedroom and really ring in the New Year right! Psssst, don’t forget the champagne.
16). Share a Year-End Review with Friends
What better way to wrap up the New Year than by reflecting? Create a year-end review with your significant other and friends so you can see all the goals you’ve achieved (and the ones you haven’t) in the year.
Then, create a brand new list for 2023. What do you hope to achieve? Do you want to make more money? Get a new job? Maybe you want to get married. Whatever you want, put it on the list and share it. Sharing it with others helps make you accountable. This idea also works great with resolutions.
17). Begin A “Why I Love You” Jar
New year, new beginnings. Start writing down everything you love about your partner on a small piece of paper and place it in a jar. Write down anything that comes to mind, like; I love you because:
Then on New Year’s Eve, get a bottle of champagne and two glasses and read each thing out loud.
5 Ways to Rekindle the Romance
After so many years together, it can be challenging to feel passion for one another. Most of your conversations have likely turned into discussions about work, bills, and family obligations. What once was romance has been replaced by monotony.
You still love your partner, but the fire has fizzled out. Here are some tips on how to rekindle a romance and make you fall back in love with your significant other.
- Show some PDA: Touching and hugging can release a calming sensation and reduce stress, so show a little affection, and your partner will know you care.
- More foreplay: This isn’t just in the bedroom. Allow tension to build because studies show that when our brains experience a higher level of anticipation, the pleasure is greater. Spend the day kissing and throwing knowing glances at your partner. This can build up to an evening of passion.
- Make time to spend with your partner: Remember how much fun it was to be courted at the beginning of your relationship? Get back to that and practice flirting to increase intimacy and sexual desire. Go out on dates again. Carve out time to do at-home activities together, like watching a movie (no phones) or listening to music over a glass of wine.
- Vary sexual positions: After many years, sex can become tedious, especially if you have it in the same manner and position. So change it up a bit. For example, have loving-tender gentle sex one time. Then, try a more passionate, highly erotic method. Doing so breaks up the routine and allows for a more pleasurable experience.
- Make intimacy a priority: Before T.V., phones, or work dulls your passion, create a mood for intimacy. Set the stage for a night of romance by putting on your favorite music and enjoying a candlelit dinner. Even if you aren’t a hands-on person, increase your physical and emotional affection to help sustain a meaningful bond.
Successful couples typically know each other intimately and understand each other’s likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, and personality quirks.
18). Plan a Sunset Picnic
If you’re looking for a more intimate setting for NYE, head to the park with a cozy blanket, fill up a picnic basket with your favorite foods and wine, and get set to spend some private quality time together.
Enjoy your picnic fireside, cozied up on your living room floor if it’s too cold outside. Light some candles, play soft music, and have the perfect at-home celebration.
Don’t spend another New Year’s Eve sitting around going, “So, what should we do this time?” Instead, check out one of these ideas and give it a go. You’ll have a guaranteed good time and ring in the New Year like a rock star!